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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

Is species Extinction a Scam?

Are Humans Causing A "Sixth Mass Extinction?

The Caveat

I want to thank Michael Shellenberger for his article on Substack. Please note, that I am not taking a position on this - each has the right to decide what they trust. Now, onto the article, which I am boiling down into a bite-sized piece.

On a recent “60 Minutes," scientists claimed that humans were causing a "6th mass extinction and 5 planet earths would be required for all the 8 billion humans to live to current western standards.

What is the 6th Wave?

Here is a graph of the first five waves, indicated by the yellow triangles. They are the periods when mass extinction occurred on earth. In addition, there have been 5 other extinction events, the last being approximately 25 million years ago, all indicated by the black triangles.

Like So Many Other Environmental Issues

Like so many "solutions" to environmental and climate change issues, the truth and consequences get thrown out the door for political expediency, for money, or in some cases, the solution may be correct. The scientists on 60 minutes were promoting moving to burn wood, seeing this as their solution to save the mountain gorillas. Their argument; is that the oil companies would move into the gorilla territory, pillage the land and lost habitat would mean lost gorillas.

The problem needs to be clearly defined. There does not appear to be any oil interest in the habitat of the mountain gorillas. On the other hand, the villages in the area rely on wood for heating and cooking. If that is the case, why would the scientists promote a pathway that would exacerbate the problem? - a frustrating conundrum we "joe public" face in attempting to determine right or wrong.

At Sustainable Circular Economy, a boutique firm helping businesses and First Nations do the world a world of good by looking at decision-making through a circular economy lens, we face this issue every day. It should not have to be, but folks do what they do for ulterior motives.

Given the situation, why are scientists like Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich promoting greater wood harvesting in the gorilla habitat if that is not the best environmental solution for the plant?

Ehrlich also claimed that equal to 5 earths would be required to hold the world's population at western living standards.

To counter what they see as clearly wrong, Environmental Progress says, "Both claims are wrong and have been repeatedly debunked in the peer-reviewed scientific literature."

Environmental Progress contends that reducing carbon emissions requires neither that rich nations become poor nor that poor nations remain poor. Instead, it simply requires that we move toward energy sources that produce fewer carbon emissions, namely natural gas and nuclear.

The 6th Mass Extinction?

For a “mass extinction” to occur, humans must be wiping out 75-90% of all species on Earth. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the leading scientific body that tracks species, just 6% of species are critically endangered, 9% are endangered, and 12% are vulnerable to becoming endangered.

Further, just 0.8% of the 112,432 plant, animal, and insect species within its data set have gone extinct since 1500. That’s a rate of fewer than two species lost yearly for an annual extinction rate of 0.001%

Protected Areas?

The federal government has set the goal of conserving 30 percent of Canada’s land and water by 2030 because science shows that nature needs our help to reverse the decline in biodiversity, better fight climate change, and maintain a robust and sustainable economy.

What Science? I wish they would show and tell. They always leave the detail out.

Misleading Statistics?

Have a look at the graph below. It shows Canada's target (top right-hand corner). But the chart is not cumulative. 13.5% of land and freshwater and 13.9% of marine habitats are protected. That is a total of 27.4%. So, depending on how you take Trudeau's announcement, it may not be a lie, but it certainly is not the truth. They will not protect 30%; the Liberals are on a path to save 2.6%.

And it is not the case that humankind has failed to conserve habitat. By 2019, an area of Earth larger than the whole of Africa has been protected, a size equivalent to 15 percent of Earth’s land surface.

The Wrap-Up

These conflicting tugs and pulls have got to stop - and they have to stop at the top. We have one chance to do the world a world of good. Knee-jerk reactions and purely political statements on single-serve plastics, protected areas, and you add what you want will only stop if we make it stop.

Life is too short, and it is also too important not to make decisions based on truth and consequences and evaluated through the lens of a circular economy that considers the impacts on people, the planet and true sustainability.

Best wishes...

Sustainable Circular Economy

Vancouver, Canada

Wayne Drury is CEO of Sustainable Circular Economy, a boutique firm in Vancouver, Canada, that helps businesses and First Nation communities to arrive at environmental solutions that are good for the people and the planet and are sustainable based upon a circular economy lens of reuse, repurpose, and recycle.

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